“It’s already late, why don’t you all go back and rest?” I said that and bid farewell to my mom’s temple friends for the day. They were the last to leave.
I was really tired, which is an understatement. It was my mom’s first day of the wake, and I have been running around doing all that is necessary (and occasional blogging) since 7 a.m. I walked up to my mom and sat beside her. With me was my cousin from Alor Setar, whose tears continue to flow, she was my mom’s best friend. I never know how close they were. But little do I know, I am going to find out, I am in for a very big surprise.
There was silence between me, cousin and mom. We could only hear the chanting from mom’s lil electrical gadget, quite a convenient piece of instrument that chants repeatedly at the click of a button.
It was me who garnered enough courage to ask, “Does mom talks about me?”
Cousin slowly turned around, looked at me, and as she struggled to put on a smile in the midst of her immense sorrow… she said… “Tuck… all the time”.
“Really? What did she say?”
And so it began, a conversation that lasted from 11.30pm to 5.30am. In that 6 hours, I got to know my mom’s entire life… her aspiration for me, her concerns over me, her joy of having me, her depression for not being able to communicate with me, her fear that she was not good enough for me, her sorrow that she was not up to my expectations… all just… about me.
“Your mother seldom talks about Ah Foo (lil bro) and Ah Mui (lil sis). Very seldom, it’s always about you. It’s because she loves you the most”.
You know when you have a crush for someone, or fall for someone, do you notice you will always talk about that person day and night? My mom loves me so much, that every time when she picked the phone and called my cousin hundreds of kilometres away, it was to talk about me.
It’s truly remarkable, that my cousin was able recite my entire life. How I threw tantrums at home, the exact timing. What words that came out of my mouth. All the time when I made my mom happy with my once-in-a-blue-moon friendly gesture, all the gifts that I have given her, all the dinners that I brought my mom out, that even I myself have totally forgotten, my cousin could name them one by one… the exact timing I’ve done it, when… and how I did it.
All the gifts and simple meals, I will only get a, “mmm… ok. Do jie” from my mom. That’s it. Nothing more was spoken. In my mind, I thought to myself, that my mom never appreciate the little things that I did. Thus… it became an once-in-a-dark-blue-moon event. But I was wrong… very wrong… incredibly wrong… extremely wrong.
“When everyone is asleep, your mom will call me in the middle of the night and tells me how happy she was to have received this gift and that gift from you. And she will tell me which day you brought her out for that nice dinner. She will call me that day itself. From her voice itself, I could feel her immense joy”, my cousin said to me.
Cousin told me of this bag that I bought for her. Frankly speaking, I couldn’t recall that I bought one. Incredibly, my cousin can actually describe the bag to me.
“Your mom treated it like a ‘poh’ (treasure), and she ‘em seh tuck yong’ (afraid to use it as it’s priceless), she was afraid she might lose it, or dirty it”.
I tried to laugh… but I was crying… I tried to cry… but I was laughing. I must have looked so stupid next to my mom’s body.
I cannot write the whole story here. It would have been too long. It would have been too boring for you. I could hear some of you say … “huh… stories of your mom again?” So I have to stop here. But I really have plenty to write, to which I will.
I really wish I can put all those into a book. How? Tunku Halim, Lydia, Xues, Eric Forbes… how? Is it possible? I am not trying to buy a ticket to instant author-ship, but am just wondering if it’s possible. Words could not describe how much I want to share my 2nd chance with mom, so that everyone else, will do all the needful in their 1st opportunity. But how?
Have to go now, need to choose a new home for mom. I will pay for it. I am sure she will be over-joy that I will be buying her a new home.
P/S: The entire conversation… 6 hours of it, took place in Mandarin… MANDARIN!!!! I am very sure my mom will be proud of her ang-moh son. 6 hours of Mandarin from Zewt… maybe someone would like to contact Malaysian Book of Records.